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Intervene of Syria from the united nations.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 558 times Debate No: 27531
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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Hey, my first debate.
The topic, i'd like to introduce today to anyone who will choose to accept it is,
Intervene in Syria, Which is current in a civil war. (Free syrian army and the government [President Bashar])
Thank you, and have a great debate.
Civil war = War within the country
Intervene = invading, for good or bad purposes. (for this debate, it is for the attempt to cease-fre



I look forward to an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Livingspace forfeited this round.


Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited this round, probably because of the 60min argument period which I didn"t notice until after I accepted. Oh well, here is what I"ve managed to (rather hurriedly) type up anyway.

I do not like Bashir, I do not particularly like the idea of him being in power, but ultimately that is a better alternative than a military intervention on the rebel"s side that will kill more people and result in a worse transition to democracy.

Is there a moral imperative?

The current civil war in Syria is a tragedy, but that does not mean there is a moral imperative for invasion. The argument for a moral imperative goes like this " "we must do something, this is something, therefore we must do this" which is obviously insane logic. First, we must only do something if that something can be proven to be measurably better than the status quo. Secondly, there may be alternate proposals that ultimately lead to less harm. This is a practical debate about outcomes.

I propose an alternative to intervention.

First, all UN member states should immediately cease all logistical and material support for the Free Syrian Army. The only reason the rebels have been able to continue this bloody conflict is because of the assistance it has received from other nations (most notably Saudi Arabia). If they end that assistance then the rebels will not be able to continue their fight. Most rebel leaders will flee to seek asylum in the west, I am happy to grant that to them. Most rebel fighters will return to their previous lives, as members of guerrilla forces are capable of doing.

So, I"m going to look at a few reasons why this solution would be better than a military intervention.

Would an intervention be immediately effective?

This is unlikely. The first part of a military intervention will have to be establishing air superiority over Syria. The UN will find this difficult to do at all, and impossible to do without unacceptable loss of civilian life. The Syrian air defence is highly advanced, with a large stockpile of SAM batteries and missiles which would be a threat to UN military aircraft. Crucially, many of these are located in built-up areas with large civilian populations, partly in order to defend those cities, but also in order to use those civilians as cover to stop the UN bombing those sites. That might be a dirty tactic, but it remains a fact that the entire legitimacy of the UN, and the moral legitimacy of an intervention, must be premised on the avoidance of civilian casualties. Moreover, the UN being involved in a bombing campaign that will effectively have to target civilian areas will have political ramifications. It will foster resentment on the part of the Syrian rebels towards the international community, and will erode the international community"s willingness to fight.

Moreover, the Bashir regime is one that is based on ideology. It is organised around the supremacy of the Alawite sect. This means that those within that sect will be unlikely to surrender power, or surrender arms, even if there is a victory by the UN forces. What will follow will be a protracted insurgency within Syria, taking even more lives.

Third, such a conflict would further destabilise the region. When we forced a change in Libya it caused the forces we were driving out to take control of northern Mali. In a region as volatile as the Middle East there is a grave risk of something similar occurring with Syria.

Can the UN win such a war? Possibly, but to do so would require an inordinate and immoral targeting of civilian areas, and would result in a yet another protracted insurgency in the Middle East.

Can the UN do this right?

The answer is quite definitely no.

The motion assumes that a vote for intervention passes the Security Council, and I"m more than willing to accept that, but we must still look at the reality of what such a war would look like when overseen by the UN.

First, how much resources would be committed? There is a principle in international law that intervention must only happen if we can guarantee the resources to make that intervention successful, and we simply cannot here. Military commitments to the UN are done on a voluntary basis. Who would volunteer for this fight? Obama has a huge economic problem to worry about, as does all of Europe. China and Russia are both opposed to the intervention on moral grounds; they are unlikely to contribute guns. So the actual support will come in a very limited form from the developed western nations, and those are the countries that have the best hardware. That limited high-tech force cannot be enough to guarantee victory in the required way. The rest of the force is likely to be composed of countries from the Arab League, who should not be involved because they have their own political ambitions in that area, and so cannot be trusted to prioritize civilian life and the health of Syria over those ambitions.

Moreover, the crucial advanced forces of the west will not be able to stay for long enough to see the mission through. The commitments of western democracies are subject to the whims of their electorate, and when CNN starts broadcasting images of the massive civilian dead (and dead American soldiers) the political will to continue this fight will not be there. That is when you get the worst case scenario, which is like what we got in Afghanistan. We turn up, bomb everything to destroy our enemies, but then do not keep our forces there for long enough to ensure nation building can happen effectively.

Would intervention help Syrian democracy?

Probably not. It would destroy any will for the Syrian people to emulate the western ideal of democracy when it is people with the US flag on their uniform shooting at them.

Moreover, democracy is more than someone simply saying "this is a democracy, let"s do elections now". Democracy requires a flourishing civil society; it requires well established laws and independence in the judiciary. It requires clear and credible opposition trusted by the people. These conditions do not exist in Syria today. Most crucially, the credibility of the Free Syrian Army that my opponent supports is very dubious among the population of Syria.

What many Syrians want is vengeance on the Alawite minority that has been oppressing them, and the chaos that surrounds an invasion is what will give it to them. I am not saying that is what all Syrians want, or even what most want. But that is what enough of them want and in the chaos of an invasion, one that must necessarily involve destroying Bashir"s monopoly of force in Alawite areas, they will have the opportunity for violent reprisal attacks. Then we will see what Rwanda in the Middle East looks like.

Why is my solution better?

First, fewer people will die. My opponent"s burden is to explain how a slip-shod UN force bombing the hell out of civilian areas (while trying to target small military missile sites) can possibly result in fewer casualties than ending the conflict with less guns.

Second, it will get better reform. Syria is not ready for a transition to democracy. Neither was Libya, which is why there is still fighting there despite intervention. The best thing to do is leave Assad in power. He knows he will have to make some reforms to start appeasing his population and the west, and he will. Moreover, the best thing we can do is increase the stability and wealth for the people, because then democracy can grow through civil discourse and civil society as it become more open to the west. See Burma"s transition for details, it may be slow but it is more likely to work than an intervention.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2


Livingspace forfeited this round.


Pro has forfeited. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by qweerty650 5 years ago
This 60 mins for arguing thing is insane...
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
I would argue for US intervention, btw.
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
Is there a moral argument to doing so? Obviously. Will this happen? Not so long as Russia and China have veto power.
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